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Martti Siisiäinen Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy University of Jyväskylä
Paper presented at ISTR Fourth International Conference "The Third Sector: For What and for Whom?" Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland July 5-8, 2000
The paper sets out to compare Robert D. Putnam's concept of social capital with that of Pierre Bourdieu's. Putnam's concept of social capital has three components: moral obligations and norms, social values (especially trust) and social networks (especially voluntary associations). Putnam's central thesis is that if a region has a well-functioning economic system and a high level of political integration, these are the result of the region’s successful accumulation of social capital (see 1993). In the United States many social problems are caused by the decline of social capital; a tendency that has been going on for the last three decades (Putnam 1993). Adam Seligman also writes in the same spirit: "The emphasis in modern societies on consensus (is) based on interconnected networks of trust - among citizens, families, voluntary organizations, religious denominations, civic associations, and the like. Similarly the very "legitimation" of modern societies is founded on the "trust" of authority and governments as generalisations" (1997, 14). The same kinds of voices are heard among proponents of American communitarianism. Putnam’s ideas are to a large extent – a continuation of a current within the American theory of pluralism. They are also reminiscent of functionalist conceptions of social integration from the 1950s and early 1960s. The theoretical contributions of the Putnamian concept and the problems that arise in connection with it are discussed in the paper. But there is also an older concept of social capital, developed by Pierre Bourdieu in the 1970s and early 1980s. Bourdieu’s concept is connected with his theoretical ideas on class. He identifies three dimensions of capital each with its own relationship to class: economic, cultural and social capital. These three resources become socially effective, and their ownership is legitimized through the mediation of symbolic capital (see p. 13). Bourdieu’s concept of social capital puts the emphasis on conflicts and the power function (social relations that increase the ability of an actor to advance her/his interests). Social positions and the division of economic, cultural and social resources in general are legitimized with the help of symbolic capital. From the Bourdieuan perspective, social capital becomes a resource in the social struggles that are carried out in different social arenas or fields. For example, the problem of trust (which Bourdieu does not discuss much explicitly) can now be dealt with as a part of the symbolic struggle (or the absence of struggles) in society. Trust as a potential component of symbolic capital can be exploited in the practice of symbolic power and symbolic exchange. The paper starts with an examination of the three components of Putnam's concept of social capital (norms and obligations, trust and social, networks, especially voluntary associations) followed by a discussion of their inherent theoretical problems. In the second part of the paper the three components of Putnam's social capital are looked at from a Bourdieuan perspective. The structure
and participation in sports clubs and voluntary cultural associations. while those in the South were vertical. Collaboration. The main result of Putnam's study is that governmental reform succeeded well in Northern Italy because it was supported by a florescence of "civic community". The activity of a civic community. civic obligation. in the South they were subjects" (op. The result of regional comparison is as follows: "In the North the crucial social. Putnam calls this historical ballast (or treasure) "path dependence": "where you can get to depends on where you are coming from. and even religious allegiances and alignments were horizontal. 3). by contrast. In this paper I will concentrate on his theoretical conclusions. and its critical tone on Bourdieu's sociology of struggle. responsive representative institutions and a prosperous economy? The governmental reform of 1976-77 in Italy. 6-7). but extending further beyond the limits of kinship than anywhere else in Europe in this era . This was also the main reason for the economic prosperity of Northern Italy in comparison with the Southern part of the country. The main question of Putnam's Italian study is: what are the preconditions for the development of strong. or course. 121). especially about civil society.not universal. equal political relations and the tradition of citizen participation. These differences between horizontal and vertical patterns of organizing social allegiances and alignments had fatal consequences for the development of political actors.cit. Putnam's concept of social capital At the beginning of his "Making Democracy work" Putnam says that in drawing his conclusions about Italy's governmental reforms during the last few decades.of the paper is based on Putnam's concept. responsible for establishing new bodies of local government. the reading of newspapers. The chief virtue in the South. political. mutual assistance. Behind all of these phenomena radiates the ethos of mutual trust between citizens (Putnam 1993. "In the North people were citizens. and even trust . is measured in Putnam's study in terms of voting activity. In areas with a wellfunctioning local government and a prosperous economy.were the distinguishing features in the North. 130). was the imposition of hierarchy and order on latent anarchy" (op. a major factor behind economic and governmental effectiveness.cit. offers a good opportunity to provide an answer to this question. and some destinations you simply cannot get to from here" . The quality of the civil society "predestined" to a large extent the future economic and political development of the region. the public activity of citizens has created an atmosphere of mutual co-operation. his purposes are theoretical and his method empirical (1993. vital social networks.
This is the basis of social consensus. families. In situations of this kind. 14) Well-functioning modern societies have to have a value basis that is based on the voluntary regulation of social relations between persons who are foreigners to each other. mutual reciprocity and trust. 1991). These two factors in turn create trust. 8-). second. Similarly the very "legitimation" of modern societies is founded on the "trust" of authority and governments as generalizations“ (1997. Forms of social capital are general moral resources of the community. Trust is needed when role expectations and familiar relationships no longer help us to anticipate the reactions of our individual or collective interaction partners.. especially voluntary associations. and it is connected to the inherited social capital in the community. civic associations.among citizens. people gather the harvest whose seeds have been sown in the micro interactions of the past (see Seligman 1997). Choices in micro-level interactions produce. Individual actors do something for the general good not because they know other interactors but because they trust that their own action will be "rewarded" via the positive development of communal relations (see Newton 1999. I will discuss moral obligations only these are related to trust and associations. The concept of social capital expresses the sociological essence of communal vitality. Here I am mainly going to deal with the problems of trust and voluntary associations. and they can be divided into three main components: first. reciprocity and associations . complexity and risk (see Luhmann 1988. In the modern world we will need trust when we leave the sphere based on familiarity and enter a world dominated by contingency. 179). social networks of citizens' activity. voluntary organizations. social norms and obligations. and thereby integrative values (or their absence) (cf.. The circle is ready: trust creates reciprocity and voluntary associations. Trust When we speak about trust in modern societies we speak about "generalized trust". as a nonintended consequence of these choices. and third. As Seligman puts it: "The emphasis in modern societies on consensus (italics/MS). (is) based on interconnected networks of trust .. Coleman 1988). Generalized trust creates the basis for "brave reciprocity". and the like. trust (and more generally 'positive' values with respect to development). cit. trust on a higher (macro) level.(op. and social networks and associations that are not means for realizing the short-term interests of any specific groups. first. A solution to the problem of common action and opportunism presupposes the development of voluntary collective action. and second. religious denominations.
disorder and stagnation. Associations first "increase the potential costs to a defector in any individual transaction“. 18-20). Voluntary associations as sources of trust Putnam's concept of voluntary association connects his ideas to one of the currents within the American theory of pluralism. and once a vital civil society is reduced to the presence or absence of intermediate voluntary associations. avoiding one's duties. Mouritsen 1997. Voluntary associations influence social interaction and co-operation between actors in several ways (see Putnam 1993. isolation. in practice norms of reciprocity are functions of networks of reciprocity. and third. 171). The more social capital is used. 36). .strengthen and produce trust (see Putnam 1993. In this way voluntary associations are dealt with as the sole source of trust (see Cohen 1999. Among these networks voluntary associations are superior in importance. In practice Putnam's civil society is reduced to the examination of the functions of voluntary associations. on the other hand. result in social equilibrium manifesting itself in a high level of co-operation. Virtuous (or rosy. like the new social movements or organizations that are seen to advance narrow group interests (see Putnam 1993. 219). which have positive functions concerning the development of social integration and consensus. Vicious circles are expressed in society as distrust. In Jean Cohen's words: "Once the state is defined and dismissed as a third-party enforcer. the more it grows (Coleman 1988). One of Putnam's problems is the explanation of the origin of social trust. However. breaking of the norms of reciprocity. and those social movements and voluntary associations that present challenges to the prevailing consensus or to integrative institutions. distrust is mostly connected to "pathological" forms of collective action. "foster robust norms of reciprocity". postindustrial (or postmodern) societies comes from two related sources: norms of reciprocity and networks of civic engagement (Putnam 1993. 177). Social trust in complex. 173-174). second. no other source is conceivable" (Cohen 1999. In Putnam's theoretical framework. see Govier 1997) circles. once institutions are dismissed as irrelevant to social trust. It has to be remembered too that Putnam's voluntary associations in "Making Democracy Work" consist mainly of sports clubs and cultural associations. Putnam is not able to deal with distrust. strong reciprocity. Voluntary association is the most important form of horizontal interaction and reciprocity. The result is the development of a 'non-civic community'. 217). Modern (or premodern) “thick trust“ develops in personal relations (see Newton 1999. expanding trust. The forms of social capital are selfreinforcing and cumulative by nature. once law is turned into sanctions that provide for a certain level of social order but no more. 163-185). civic activity and collective well-being (Putnam 1993.
It is typical of Putnam that he does not discuss conflicts between interests (new social movements. and. and distrust of other (hegemonic) organizations. In this tradition social interests were identified with organized interests in the form of voluntary associations (visible interests). This holds true for three kinds of conflicts. It is trust that helps to build and holds together the relations between the members. is that in practice he reduces the concept of civil society to voluntary associations of a specific type (sports clubs. On the contrary. A plurality of crosscutting voluntary associations was understood as the main precondition for a stable democracy. Putnam is not alone in stressing the importance of voluntary associations in the formation and development of modern society. These were taken as the base for examining the relationship between civil society and the state.following in the footsteps of de Tocqueville . in this tradition (with some exceptions) voluntary associations were tied by definition to the interests of association members (e. Conflicting interests and the problem of non-organized interests were not included in the approach. voluntary associations can be regarded as socially organized groups based on mutual trust between the members.g. there are conflicts between those associations that are functional in creating and supporting social consensus. Richter 1985.g.is too Euro-American centered to be able to see youth . which can serve as a culturally-defined template for future collaboration". Siisiäinen 1986). As a rational form of solving administrative problems and reducing the complexity of the environment (Umwelt) voluntary association is also a central embodiment of confidence (see Richter 1985. Putnam's ideas about the relationship between voluntary associations continue the long line of studies from de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" to Bentley (1908) and Truman (1951). A large part of the groups and informal associations of civil society cannot be discerned by the Putnamian vision. and those associations and movements that are critical of the dominant political values (and of the values represented by the sports clubs and cultural associations studied by Putnam) (conflicts between different parts of civil society). His vision . Some of these associations create trust only among their own members.“facilitate communication and improve the flow of information about the trustworthiness of individuals". A theory about conflicting interests presupposes different types of trust (and distrust) and different types of association. Following in Luhmann's footsteps. Bentley 1908. First. However. c. however. They "allow reputations to be transmitted and refined". they "embody past success at collaboration. Tenbruch & Ruoff 1983. Putnam's central problem. one can make the generalization that voluntary associations and modern democratic nations were born as dialectical twins in such a way that "you can't find one without the other" (e. Siisiäinen 1998). parties).f. cultural associations). Weber 1911). finally.
As Max Weber has remarked. However. as Putnam only mentions in passing. A vision . within the association (domination exercised by the leadership upon rank-and-file members). This selectivity of the political system tends to increase the supremacy of upper strata in the system of voluntary associations and their over-representation in .. no more. Voluntary associations also play a central role in the selection of those issues and interests that are allowed to enter the political arena.). Second. Mouritsen 1997.or theoretical “glasses“ inherited from the 19th century perceives only homological organizational forms inherited from the same century. Putnam neglects the vertical dimension of voluntary associations and the power relations that are inherent in all modern associations (at least as a potential tendency).. This problem was also studied by another. Putnam is nothing to say about conflicts between civil society and the political society (and the state). because organization is the mobilization of bias. to put it in another way. problems of oligarchy (Michels) and bureaucratization (Weber) are still among the most serious obstacles to the development of democratic voluntary organizations and civil society. 66. civil society is (also) the seedbed of social conflicts and conflicting individual and collective actors.subcultures or subcultural public spheres. cit. Putnam does not deal with politics. He who determines what politics is about runs the country. Cohen 1999. Some conflicts are organized into politics while others are organized out" (Schattschneider 1960. and their internal power structures. 68. 71).. voluntary associations are relations of domination (Herrschaftsverhälnisse) in two respects: first. All forms of political organization have a bias in favor of the exploitation of some kinds of conflicts and the depression of others. Because he is not dealing with conflicts or new challenges presented to the political system. This means that the Putnamian “theory“ can be characterized as continuing the tradition of American "pacific functionalism" of the 1960s.. his theory can be seen as a kind of wish to escape politics in the de Tocquevillean tradition (see Shapiro 1997. This limited vision also prevents Putnam from seeing the role of the mass media and of alternative forms of communication (see Shapiro 1997). Or. Warren 1999). in relation to the outside world (by the organization towards the outsiders) (Weber 1911). focusing on the integrative functions of voluntary associations (see Mouritsen op. As we know. critical current within the American pluralist "school": "The democratic society is able to survive because it manages conflict by establishing priorities among a multitude of potential conflicts . because the definition of the alternatives is the choice of conflicts and the choice of conflicts allocates power. from Rousseau to present-day discussions of (and in) new social movements. Putnam has little to say about the problems of internal democracy in existing voluntary associations. and second. Third.
Therefore the picture that the prevailing totality of voluntary associations gives of the variety of existing interests in society is biased. see Jessop 1983. the level of their confidence). This can be concretized by discussing the development of the Nordic welfare state(s) as a compromise between different and conflicting interests (or as a hegemonic project). are not dealt with in this paper. which. My argument is that this is connected to the development of the Nordic welfare state’s function in guaranteeing (in principle at least. 1999). 35). 1999). Most probably the Nordic countries also get the highest points in a Putnamian scale measuring the amount of positive social capital (cf. differences between the Nordic countries. most probably.the leadership of associations. Besides the Nordic countries. This means that political and social welfare institutions increase the capacity of citizens to anticipate the future (and thus. . it can be said that it is one of the most successful moves in that direction in societies based on social inequalities. Comparative studies on trust show that the citizens of the Nordic countries belong to the most "trusting" in the world in the Putnamian sense of the word (see Inglehart 1997. volunteerism and voluntary associations are doing well in many other European countries as well (for example in Holland) (see Van Dept et. of course. The development of the Nordic welfare state can be understood as a kind of hegemonic project. In Shattschneider's words: "the flaw in the pluralist heaven is that the heavenly chorus sings with a strong upper class accent" (Schattschneider 1960. according to Putnam (and many others) is the case in the USA (Putnam 1995. al. 1 There are. The neo-corporatist practices that led to the Nordic welfare state are no doubt far from the 'ideal speech situation' (Habermas) or deliberative democracy. social movements and institutions of the state (for a discussion of these concepts. Siisiäinen 1987). Citizens of the Nordic countries also occupy top positions in international comparison of the number of the memberships in voluntary associations and the number of acting voluntary associations (see Siisiäinen 1999). Voluntary associations and social integration The US-centredness of Putnam's analysis accentuates the narrowness of his approach in understanding the production of "consensus" on the level of society. Siisiäinen 1995. 1999). Inglehart 1999)1. and even though imperfectly) a minimum level of living. however. The Nordic countries are also among those countries in which no general decline of social capital has taken place (as. or a neo-corporatist compromise between different interest organizations. However.
Many of these movements were critical not only of details but also of the whole political system. in Finland institutions of the welfare state have sometimes originated as critical social movements.by the economic and political elites. which presented the political system with demands. For example. 1995). Many of de Tocqueville's themes that were revitalized in the pluralist theorization of the 1950s have reappeared in American sociological and politological discourses (see Alexander 1994.So far this information about the Nordic countries could be interpreted as supporting Putnam’s ideas of the relationship between the activity of voluntary associations. They were often objected .f. But the problem with respect to Putnam is that these Nordic structures of consensus and "trust" are very often the results of "struggles" between conflicting interests. Warren 1999). it is now time to turn to the conflict and power side of social capital as represented by Bourdieu. All this said. To some extent Bourdieu's theorization tries to answer those questions that Putnam leaves untouched (although Bourdieu – as far as I know – has never entered into a debate with the Putnamians at all): the relationship between social capital and power. All major movements have become integrated into the political system in this way (see Siisiäinen 1994). In Putnam's analysis only those associations are examined which are able to rise above social conflicts. symbolic power and universal values (trust?). The example of the Nordic countries points to the conclusion that particularly those associations that are critical and in opposition to the prevailing value consensus are the most important in the creation of trust on the societal level and developing a hegemonic system based on leadership in the civil society (see Siisiäinen 1986). In the course of time these protest movements have resulted in the establishment of registered associations that were able to take part in the (neo-corporatist) negotiations between the various parties to the conflict and the state.at least in the beginning . and societal consensus based on value compromises. and thus ignores a central element that has to be dealt with if we want to understand the birth of a trusting society based on compromises of interest. and the preconditions for social consensus. In a way certain of Putnam's ideas similarly reproduce ideas . Bourdieu's social and symbolic capital Jeffrey Alexander has drawn attention to the affinities between the modernization theories of the 1950s and 1990s theories of the neo-modern. A severe problem with Putnam's theory is that it excludes conflicts and conflicting associations from its conceptual apparatus and from the list of preconditions of consensus (c.
even though not without problems . Bourdieu 1991. People can find that their expectations and ways of living are suddenly out of step with the new social position they find themselves in. we can at least say that the theoretical roots of Bourdieu's conception should be searched rather in the sociology of conflict and structuralist tradition than in the sociology of integration and functionalism. Seligman identifies different forms of fundamentalism as "binary opposites" to associations based on trust (Seligman 1997. even though they are not totally free and do not employ the categories of thought of their own choice.. rational form of voluntary associations and the premodern form of familiar groups (voluntary associations based on trust vs. It reflects the different positions people have in society. and in the way he deals with the problem of symbolic power and universal (or general) values. and especially with the problem of disinterested action. One example of these similarities is the differentiation between the modern. 19). The habitus is a set of dispositions. If Putnam can be seen as carrying on theories of pluralism and functionalism. amoral familism based on blood-ties and serving the interests of specific groups).. This is how Bourdieu ties together .g. Bourdieu's formulations leave plenty of room for different interpretations: at one extreme he has been presented as representing a reductionist idea of the actor. In the following pages I will try to show how the points of departure expressed in the citation manifest themselves in Bourdieu's concept of social and symbolic capital. whereas Bourdieu's approach is made from the point of view of actors engaged in struggle in pursuit of their interests. reflexes and forms of behavior people acquire through acting in society. whether they are brought up in a middle-class environment or in a working-class suburb. It is part of how society produces itself. . for example. it is more difficult to characterize Bourdieu in the same terms since he consistently opposes the use of labels of this kind (see e. On the other hand. 1999). habitus and conflict: "I developed the concept of 'habitus' to incorporate the objective structures of society and the subjective role of agents within it. Then the question of social agency and political intervention becomes very important" (Bourdieu 2000. However. Bourdieu & Wacquant 1995). Conflict is built into society. he has been seen as a proponent of a constructivist idea of actors making their own choices and their own history. if we accept Loïc Wacquant's characterization of Bourdieu's whole production "as a materialist anthropology of the specific contribution that various forms of symbolic violence make to the reproduction of structures of domination". For example. Putnam's idea of social capital deals with collective values and societal integration. But there is also change.of the functionalist and pluralist theorizations of the 1950s.the most central of his concepts.
... This struggle for the imposition of the dominant principle leads. Each social field has a profile of its own. as incorporated in the habitus. in (early) childhood.. first. cultural and social) are the core factors defining positions and possibilities of the various actors in any field. comme ensemble d'agents qui ne sont pas seulement dotés de propriétés communes .. rather than merely a common "quality" . It is a quality produced by the totality of the relationships between actors. Forms of capital (economic. diplomas and examinations (see Bourdieu 1977. to a balance in the sharing of power. and the intellectual field] confront one another in strategies aimed at preserving or transforming this balance of forces. 2). "The volume of social capital possessed by a given agent . 1979. the field of higher civil service or the state. cultural and social capital (see Bourdieu 1986). It is a space of play and competition in which social agents and institutions which all posses the determinate quantity of specific capital (economic and cultural capital in particular) sufficient to occupy the dominant positions within their respective fields [the economic field. Cultural capital has three forms of existence. but also of other economic possessions that increase an actor's capacities in society. that is. 249). 76) The main components of social resources whose control defines the social position of actors are economic. to what I call a division of the work of domination. It is also simultaneously a field of struggles for power among the holders of different forms of power. "The field of power is a field of forces defined by the structure of the existing balance of forces between forms of power. or between different species of capital. It is also a struggle over the legitimate principle of legitimation and the legitimate mode of reproduction" (Bourdieu & Wacquant 1996. ou. cultural capital is objectivized in cultural articles. depends on the size of the network of connections that he can effectively mobilize" (Bourdieu 1986. it also exists institutionalized in cultural institutions and is expressed in terms of certificates. Second. Social capital thus has two components: it is. Third. and is to a large extent created through primary pedagogy. the university field. The forms of capital controlled by the various agents are trumps that define the chances of winning the stakes in the game. à l'appartenance à un groupe. first. Finally social capital is "l'ensemble des ressources actuelles ou potentielles qui sont liées à la possession d'un réseau durable de relations plus ou moins institutionnalisées d'interconnaissance et d'interreconnaissance. depending on the proportionate importance within it of each of the forms of capital.. Economic capital consists of capital in Marx's sense of the word.Fields and forms of capital One of the theoretical cornerstones of Bourdieu's sociology is the idea of society as a plurality of social fields. a resource that is connected with group membership and social networks. mais sont aussi unis par des liaisons permanentes et utiles (Bourdieu 1980. that is. at every moment. It exists. Bourdieu & Passeron 1977). en d'autres termes.
251). social capital. unless they are transformed into meaningful differences. and involvement in the social networks developing within these and in the social relations arising from the membership can be utilized in efforts to improve the social position of the actors in a variety of different fields. only potentialities. 3. Bureaucratic organization is an effective administrative tool in concentrating social capital and transforming quantity (number of members) to quality (organizational effectiveness). The economic. The formation of an association can create a sense of solidarity among a mass of persons. This social capital accumulated in voluntary associations can be delegated. In order to become effective. "Symbolic capital . cf.. In this way. The development of social networks is dependent both on individual subjective feeling (recognition. 1998a). institutionalizes the capital that is being accumulated. 1986. 1986. The second characteristic of social capital is that it is based on mutual cognition and recognition (see Bourdieu (1980. respect. Group memberships creating social capital have a "multiplication effect" on the influence of other forms of capital (see Bourdieu 1986.. 2). political parties. that is. Membership in groups. "objective" differences between groups or classes have to be transformed into symbolic differences and classifications that make possible symbolic recognition and distinction. it gives a "name". trade unions. social capital for Bourdieu is a collective phenomenon. and communality) and on the institutional guarantees afforded by the organization. and is transformed into symbolic capital (1986). when perceived by an agent endowed with . social and symbolic "profit" that follows from belonging to the association establishes a concrete base for the growth of solidarity. secret societies (cf. and some part of it even spreads out to rank-and-file members (see Bourdieu 1980. Voluntary associations. Social classes implicated by the distribution of economic. This is how it acquires a symbolic character. even though it is viewed from the perspective of actors who are exploiting its potentialities. the freemasons) are modern examples of embodiments of social capital. Coleman 1988). is nothing other than capital. and thus represented by the leadership of the association. and different powers of influence to different actors. the formation of a voluntary association can (also) be seen as collective and individual strategies of investment aimed at the creation of permanent networks of relations that will make possible the accumulation of social capital (Bourdieu 1986). Voluntary associations as social capital can be understood as resources produced by the association as a collective and shared by its members.of the group (Bourdieu 1980. mediated by symbolic capital (see Bourdieu 1985). in whatever form. cultural and social capital are only "classes on paper". From this perspective. Joppke 1987. Differences in the control of social capital may explain why the same amount of economic and cultural capital can yield different degrees of profit.
Ideas about "brave reciprocity" and "generalized reciprocity" can be contrasted with Bourdieu's ideas about the (im)possibility of disinterested action. Therefore I do not claim that the following represents Bourdieu's authentic views on trust. examinations and diplomas). and of all of these as potential euphemisms in the symbolic uses of power (see Bourdieu 1998a. The effectiveness of symbolic capital depends on real practices of communication. In that respect symbolic capital cannot be institutionalized. With a slight exaggeration of the differences between Putnam's and Bourdieu's ideas we can formulate a Bourdieuan concept of trust: trust can be understood as a universalized value (virtue) posited as the basis of voluntary. Economic and cultural capital have their own modes of existence (money. whereas symbolic capital exist only in the "eyes of the others". Bourdieu draws a parallel between the concept of symbolic capital and legitimate capital. the universal character of trust can be questioned and . participation in games (the concept of interest and illusion) and the exchange of gifts. because it is symbolic capital that defines what forms and uses of capital are recognized as legitimate bases of social positions in a given society. As symbolic capital. the "universal" as the "object of universal recognition". in the last analysis. 204).revealed as a euphemism concealing the hidden. the "sacrifice of selfish (especially economic) interests that is recognized as legitimate and of "universal values" (virtue). It exists and grows only in intersubjective reflection and can be recognized only there.as a rule . shares. 1987. i. in order to see what it might look like from his point of view. Joppke 1987. 1998b. disinterested action and exchange (or interaction). and thus conceals the arbitrary way in which the forms of capital are distributed among individuals in society (see Bourdieu 1986. Symbolic power and "trust" or "capital of recognition" Trust is not a concept in Bourdieu's sociological vocabulary. but underlying specific interests of the powerful. when it is known and recognized as self-evident" (Bourdieu 1985.e. It inevitably assumes an ideological function: it gives the legitimized forms of distinction and classification a taken-for-granted character. Bourdieu & Wacquant 1996).cit. I am instead trying to locate Putnam's concept of trust within Bourdieu's theoretical co-ordinates. distinctions are "the product of the internalization of the structures to which they are applied" (op. . 204).categories of perception arising from the internalization (embodiment) of the structure of its distribution. 60). Bourdieu comes closest to the Putnamian concept of trust when he speaks of the "capital of recognition". However. 1998a. objectified or incorporated into the habitus.
. that is. The modern state holds not only the monopoly of physical violence but also.. Knowledge of the social world becomes the object of political and ideological struggles.. This stresses the importance of school and other institutions of socialization in the system of symbolic power. the word interest initially meant very precisely what I include under the notion of illusio. (I)llusio is the enchanted relation to a game that is the product of a relation of ontological complicity between mental structures and the objective structures of social space. the fact that what happens matters to those who are engaged in it. who are in the game. The modern state has been a kind of super-agent that combines the struggles over legitimate power taking place in different fields. and potential groups transformed into actual groups (Bourdieu 1985.As stated above. The roots or sources of symbolic capital can be almost anywhere. 112). the power to make different entities exist by symbolic categorizing becomes decisively important within the total system of power. In fact.. Symbolic power or violence is also involved in the politics of universal values.e. It is by seeing things in the legitimate way that the implicit can be made explicit. 202203). that playing is worth the effort. This would result in the most absolute recognition of legitimacy. I call misrecognition the fact of recognizing a violence which is wielded precisely inasmuch as one does not perceive it as such" (Bourdieu & Wacquant 1996. Influencing the categories and distinctions through which the world is perceived becomes a major way in changing (or conserving) the social world. to admit that the game is worth playing and that the stakes created in and through the fact of playing are worth pursuing. Bourdieu's idea is that economic. above all. to participate. of believing the game is "worth the candle. its central criterion is that actors perceive and recognize its existence. the power to constitute and to impose as universally applicable within a given "nation". In Bourdieu's conception of symbolic power it is important to pay attention to those authorities in whose hands the symbolic capital is concentrated. the "monopoly of legitimate symbolic violence. of taking the game seriously. 167-168). Interest is to "be there". The use of symbolic power is successful when prevailing "objective" structures are perceived by actors with the help of categories that are the products the same objective structures. the fact of attributing importance to a social game. is the violence which is exercised upon a social agent with his or her complicity. cultural. because everyday life is apprehended as self-evident (the quasi-perfect coincidence of objective and embodied structures) (1985.. and social capital becomes meaningful and socially effective only through the process of symbolic translation.. it is to recognize the game and to recognize its stakes. "Symbolic violence... "Illusio is in the fact of being interested in the game.. Illusio is the fact of being caught up in and by the game." or. 204).. That is what I meant in speaking about . That is why symbolic power. In modern western democracies the state is the field in which struggles for the monopoly of legitimate symbolic power are (or were?) fought. more simply. i. a common set of coercive norms" (Bourdieu & Wacquant 1996.
All too often." (1998a. . and may appeal to universal values and use euphemisms to veil their basic interests.Putnam . Bourdieu and Putnam share some formal and seemingly similar ideas.g. So. The disinterested person "does not see why they are playing. The notion of interest is opposed to that of disinterestedness. but also to that of indifference.that interest and universal values (virtue. he argues. but neither does he discuss the problems of those groups who do not have any associations of their own (for example. even behind universal values lurk the specific interests of certain groups.seems to think that trust and interest conflict. while at the same time being disinterested. Bourdieu doubts the possibility of disinterestedness and thus of generalized trust as a general value. if we are to believe Bourdieu (Bourdieu 1998b). in people’s decreasing participation in elections in many democracies (e. the other . In discussing the problem of whether interests and universal values/trust are compatible in society. 76-77).interests: games which matter to you are important and interesting because they have been imposed and introduced in your mind. members of social movements and voluntary associations may have moral 'interests' in the game. for example. groups with too weak resources to found an association). the logic of the game is such that certain agents have an interest in the universal" (1991. 33). in your body. In Putnam's approach interest organizations are left out of the study. it appears up that "in a certain field at a certain moment. It is also quite often the case that different groups and classes take part in the game (or actually in several games played at the same time in the same field) but are actually playing (or imagine themselves to be playing) different games. or in the struggles over the future content of the so-called third sector. One can be interested in a game (in the sense of not indifferent). In these struggles. One of them ." it's all the same to them. 76-77). political apathy or conscious renunciation).. This is what happens all the time in the name of globalization. capital of recognition) exclude each other. Putnam refuses to deal with interests or interest organizations (as representatives of amoral familism). Bourdieu stresses the importance of historical and empirical examination of the problem of universal values and universal truth. Bourdieu's theoretical concepts make it possible to discuss the problem of how actors who do not have any interest at all in taking part in the games of modern democracy as expressed. counting the costs and benefits. whereas economic elites may be guided by 'rational' economic interests. Great moments for the system of symbolic power come as the lower classes accept euphemistic value banners suggested by social elites.Bourdieu . Weber notices this when he speaks of the differences between upper-class and folk religions (see Weber 1976). in a form called the feel for the game (Bourdieu 1998a. Same kinds of difference can be discerned in the voluntary sector.
which. Bourdieu characterizes his own approach as genetic structuralism (Bourdieu 1991. Practices are the result of the co-influence of "objective structures" as manifested in the forms of prevailing alternatives at a certain moment in history.g.. the habitus develops through the internalization of the objective structures of the environment in the form of practices. for its part. It is easy to find citations from Bourdieu that echo structuralist tones. becomes the structuring structure leading via practices to the development of new structures. According to Bourdieu. while adjusting to the demands inscribed as objective potentialities in the situation. Bourdieu does not deny the existence of "objective" structures and their influence on the formation of habitus. manifested as dispositions directing the choices of the actor toward alternatives that are homological with the structures that have produced the habitus (causalité du probable) (Bourdieu 1977. and the "subjective structures" inside the habitus. Thus the habitus "produces practices that tend to reproduce the regularities immanent in the objective conditions of the production of their generative principle. Habitus forms a durable generative principle that guides the actor in his/her new choices between alternatives that are present in a certain conjuncture.. Bourdieu stresses that the habitus cannot be reduced to structures because it is born as practices. 128-202). It is easy to see the influence of Bourdieu's concept of habitus on Giddens' concept of the duality of structure (see Giddens 1985). 14). It is possible to accept Bourdieu's repeated protestations that he is not a structuralist.and define Bourdieu as the prototype of a structuralist or reductionist (e. 78). But it is also possible to make the opposite interpretation . Bourdieu's own solution is embodied in the concept of habitus. It is creative and thus the reproduction of social structures is never oneto-one reproduction but extended and creative reproduction directed by the habitus (Bourdieu 1977). Alexander 1995. as defined by the cognitive and motivating structures making up the habitus" (1977. The strong emphasis placed by Bourdieu on the im- . 1974).with a little help from some bad will . namely those of volunteering and voluntary action? How do they relate to Bourdieu's conception of universal values and the (im)possibility of disinterested action? What could Bourdieu's position be like on the problem of "brave reciprocity" rising from social interaction or exchange? Bourdieu tries to overcome the juxtaposition of 'structuralism' and 'phenomenologism' (see Bourdieu & Wacquant 1996) or "economism" and “semiologism" (see Bourdieu 1980b) and solve dialectically the problem of the relationship between structural conditioning and actors' freedom of choice.What about the great ideas of American pluralism and of the American political system.
More concretely. we can accede to Alexander's accusation of reductionism. and therefore constantly affected by them in a way that either reinforces or modifies its structures. But it is also possible to take Bourdieu's claims seriously: to accept that he is only defining the conditions under which symbolic power is effective and successful in influencing actors' practices. it seems that Bourdieu is more and more interested in the forces of change in his latest writings (cf. And it is also something that we must take into account when we discuss the relation of Bourdieu's theorizations to the problem of generalized trust and altruism. If we take this citation in isolation from the context of Bourdieu's total production.of the actor’s choices.. Alexander 1995. Bourdieu's idea of society composed of different fields emphasizes the non-reductionist character of his sociology.concerning the possibility that actors. change the world (see Bourdieu & Wacquant 1996. As fields. 141). However.portance of symbolic power and the difficulties of autonomous. genuine voluntary action make it easy to accuse Bourdieu of reductionism: "Symbolic power relations tend to reproduce and to reinforce the power relations which constitute the structure of the social space. . it is something that preconditions the freedom . Another thing is that Bourdieu's theoretical conception does not give much help if we want to analyze the processes of change caused by conflicting agents and movements.g.that has been growing. all spaces within society are contested.. voluntary associations) must also be understood as fields with their own stakes to be struggled for not as systemic structures (see Bourdieu & Wacquant 1996. Bourdieu 2000). But in any case. and actors' positions within them have to be fought for continually. especially in the 1990s . And it is also possible to take to heart Bourdieu's brief remarks on the resistance of the dominated (e. According to Bourdieu. Bourdieu & Passeron 1998. 133).and voluntary character . sit. Bourdieu 1998b. the legitimation of the social order . 102-104). results from the fact that agents apply to the objective structures of the social world structures of perception and appreciation that have emerged from these objective structures and tend therefore to see the world as self-evident" (Bourdieu 1991. 2000). It is durable but not eternal!" (Bourdieu & Wacquant 1996. and actors' social movements will through knowledge and subsequent action..to find numerous of Bourdieu’s formulations specifying the preconditions for the success of symbolic power in reproducing the dominant structures. Organizations (e. This is why Bourdieu does not accept either Althusser's concept of ideological state apparatuses or Luhmann's systems theory. This is one of the limits of his approach. It is also easy .g.with the help of a certain amount of goodwill . viii) and share Bourdieu's optimism . Further. but "an open system of dispositions that is constantly subjected to experiences. habitus is not the fate of certain people.
What values will become universal values will decided in the struggles taking place in different fields of society.. the primacy of the group and general interests with respect to the individual actor. The community will reward this kind of action by affording profit of universalization to the actors in question (Bourdieu 1991. the community interprets this as a recognition of collective values. universalized values. Bourdieu tries to define the situation that makes disinterestedness possible: "If the disinterestedness is sociologically possible. it can be so only through the encounter between habitus predisposed to disinterestedness and universes in which disinterestedness in rewarded" (Bourdieu 1998a. When individuals can rise above their narrow interests and show that they have adopted the position of the community. which are thus subject to suspicion (universal culture is the culture of the dominants. In a skeptical (or to some extent even cynical) spirit we can say that private interests can be concealed as universal at least in two ways in the "nonprofit" or "voluntary sector". through social conflicts. Putnam's conception of trust): "The profit of universalization is undoubtedly one of the historical engines of the progress of the universal. virtue.at least in words . Second. etc. 88). that is..e. Then why not also trust? This is how Bourdieu sees the impact of universal values on development (cf. 60). This is because it favors the creation of universes where universal values (reason. This gives his position a coloring that is almost dramatically opposed to Putnam's romantic idea of generalized trust.universal values as virtue. Volunteering is one of the fields dominated by the universal values of altruism and disinterestedness. 90). First.) are at least verbally recognized and wherein operates a circular process of mutual reinforcement of the strategies of universalization seeking to obtain the profits (if only negative) associated with conformity to universal rules and to the structures of those universes officially devoted to the universal" (Bourdieu 1998a. or communality.cit. The triumph of virtue carries forward the progress of the universal. i. the interests and calculations of the powerful (for example efforts to cut public spending by demolishing welfare state services) can be presented under positive banners such as flexibility.We can at least say that Bourdieu is very skeptical with respect to altruistic action that is (at the same time) free of any specific interest of the actor. Putnam seems to believe that the development of generalized trust means that actors really can rise above their specific interests. It presupposes the recognition of the universal. 88). those who volunteer or are said to behave altruistically can simply try to present the necessary as universal. . subsidiary principle. whereas Bourdieu thinks that "universal values are particular.)" (Bourdieu op. Bourdieu speaks about the triumph of the universal when such worlds are favored which recognize .
membership figures in traditional American voluntary associations (the Red Cross.for example . I have selected Putnam's widely-known article "Bowling alone: American Declining Social Capital" (1995) and the collection of Bourdieu's writings "Acts of Resistance. the exchange of exact equivalent.g.most of all . for example. In both publications. the Lions etc. Against the New Myths of Our Time" (1998b) as my data to show the differences. With minor exceptions. and becomes a part of the struggle over the principles of its construction (see Siisiäinen 2000). gift exchange is covered by universalizing strategies denying the interestedness of the parties to the exchange. This is where sociology enters the field of struggles . visits) has declined. distrust of the government has risen in 20 years from 30 to 75% (in 1992).mostly female .g. in trade unions and religious associations have fallen steadily.over the third sector. This kind of system would also hide all traces of the pattern of gift exchange that can be a component in many forms of volunteering.If we want to follow the lines that are implicit in Bourdieu's ideas about the (im)possibility of disinterested action. the family and the neighborhood. In a system of symbolic power. PTAs. family violence. in a work of dissimulation tending to deny the truth of exchange.volunteers could serve as an example of following the logic of universal values. The bastions of social capital. Putnam is worried . the social capital. And that is not all. and social intercourse between neighbors (e. Social problems as sociological problems in Putnam and Bourdieu The differences between Putnam's and Bourdieu's theoretical approaches are clearly revealed when they are adopted in dealing with concrete problems of society. current social problems are examined in a critical way (e.). have been through hard times: neither the nuclear nor the extended family is any longer a stronghold of mutual togetherness. have a look at the development of the third sector as a field of symbolic struggle (see Siisiäinen 2000).about the decline of the heart of American civil society. Gift givers and receivers "collaborate. which represents the destruction of the exchange of gifts" (1998a. This would accord with the notion of the dominant structure of symbolic capital if the increase in volunteering in the third sector were to prove to correlate with the reduction of the welfare services provided by the state and . Voting activity is going down. 94). The disinterested sacrifice of .for example . we can. alienation caused by unemployment and the breaking down of communities. Therefore it is no wonder that the . The total structure of exchange gains autonomy from conscious individual choices.with the lowering of the taxation of capital incomes. drugs). without knowing it. The task of sociology is to reveal this double sidedness of exchange as a combination of objective and subjective truth.
cit 77). This discussion. The second factor destroying social capital is social mobility and the rootlessness that follows it (cf. Putnam blames the technological changes that are responsible for the privatization or individualization of leisure. . in his terms. the examination of co-effects of macro structures. for example. American slum-clearance policy of the 1950s and 1960s. Because the ideas in the book are more profoundly developed. it is well known that in some instances "public policy has destroyed highly effective social networks and norms. Siisiäinen 2000). it is interesting to see how Putnam understands the (real or possible) impact of the welfare state – or. According to Putnam. Finally. As civic activity and trust go hand in hand. The third factor is caused by demographic changes (increase in divorces. unfortunately. First.g. Putnam also lists measures for improving the preconditions for the development of social capital. The main obstacle for the construction of social capital during free time is. Cohen 1999. Putnam identifies four factors behind the decline of social capital in the USA.on the formation of social capital. or voluntary sector. Coleman 1988). but at a very high cost to existing social capital" (1995. There are some ideas in "Bowling alone" that are inconsistent with the ideas to be found in "Making Democracy work" about the direction of causal relations between the economy. and the resources that this needs. decrease in the average number of children per family. Putnam concludes that American social capital has been declining for the last 30 years on a wide front. government and social capital. because the middle class has traditionally been responsible for the accumulation of social capital in America. the increasing presence of women in the labor force has lessened the time that is available for building social capital in families. however. Against the New Myths of 2 It is very easy to see the kinship between these ideas and those of many American communitarianists (see e. 76-77)2. that were discussed above. Bourdieu's ideas as to the sources and causes of current social problems can be reconstructed by reading his book "Acts of Resistance. decline of real incomes). renovated physical capital. Especially fatal for the maintenance of social capital is the worsening of the preconditions of middle. 74-75). These include research. On the other hand improving the conditions of schools and charity associations has had a positive effect on social-capital accumulation (op. is left on a tentative level compared to the theorizations in "Making Democracy Work".class parenthood. they are the basis for regarding Putnam as a romantic functionalist and pluralist. television and its supremacy in the competition over the uses of leisure (Putnam 1995. and putting an end to developments.proportion of Americans trusting their fellow-citizens decreased from 58 % in 1960 to 37 % in 1993. As to the development of the third. of public policy .
On the other hand. 36-39). 34). The dominant discourse claims that there are no alternatives to the prevailing development. This doxa appears in disguise of euphemisms such as flexibility (“souplesse“). meaning night work. is imposed. in his published works throughout the period of 1970s. and this system manifests itself in the form of the alleged necessities that different national economies and states are facing at present. drug addiction. The European welfare state can thus also be understood as a kind of compromise. alcoholism.g. and the idea that economic forces cannot be resisted) (1998b. another magic word of neo-liberalism. And it is in the name of this model (pitting European workers against the workers in the rest of the world/MS) that flexible working. things which have always been part of employers' dreams" (1998b. Bourdieu's position to the modern state is twofold: first.. Their consequences can be felt in different spheres of society (such as increasing insecurity.in contrast to narrow. 33-34). The myth of globalization is "the main weapon in the battles against the gains of the welfare state. "would take note of all the profits.. health and social security (1998b. sickness. 30-31).. especially in the educational system (e. suffering. rising productivity and competitiveness as the ultimate goals of human actions. suicide. Neoliberalism is the grand narrative of globalization. 1996. 1980s and 1990s he speaks of the state as a fountain or super-agent of the symbolic violence that guarantees the system of dominant symbolic power with the help of the monopoly of symbolic classification and categorization. . His goal is to analyze and dismantle the myth of neo-liberalism and the euphemisms employed in its construction. deregulation. "Conservative revolutions" are dressed up in all the signs of modernity. Globalization means the birth of a global economy proper. short-term economics. irregular working hours. individual and collective. which is why people take many presuppositions for granted (maximum growth. lost jobs.Our Time" (1998b). which includes the historical achievements of social movements (e. welfare rights).as he understands them . 1998a). in "Acts of Resistance" he speaks of the ambiguous character of the state: the European welfare state is also a guarantor of social the functions of welfare and human rights such as education.g. a feeling of distress. These are all problems that capture the attention of American communitarians and Putnamians as well.) (1998b. domestic violence etc. neo-liberalism.and its main ideology or grand narrative. In it Bourdieu wages his war against the negative consequences of globalization . In public discourses globalization is presented as a mythic inevitability forcing national economies and states to take certain actions. Bourdieu asks for a sociology that would be prepared to take part in a critical venture to develop "economics of happiness" which . corporate trust etc. weekend work. and present themselves as progressive developments in the name of liberalism.
the ideas of two opposing sociological traditions and apply these ideas to current problems of civil society. is thus indirectly legitimized. 41). forms of power/violence. the "ideology of competence serves very well to justify an opposition which is rather like that between masters and slaves. As already noted. they lack intelligence" (1998b. and then.material and symbolic.. and solidarity and togetherness. it is difficult to deal with conflicts or opposing interests using Putnam's approach. 43). Conclusion: Putnam or/and Bourdieu Thus Bourdieu and Putnam van be seen to carry on.g. and develop further. cit. . on the other side. 42-43). The structure of inequality is given ethical and intellectual justification at the same time with the help of the ideology of competence: "The poor are not just immoral.has no place in Bourdieu's theorization. and which is accepted by the dominated.in the Putnamian sense of the word . there is a great mass of people condemned to borderline jobs or unemployment" (1998b. they are stupid. and that create consensus and sustain the stable development of society (moving equilibrium). recognition/trust). associated with activity (such as security). Bourdieu draws the following conclusion: "I think that the dominated groups in society have an interest in defending the state. 40).. alcoholic and degenerate. After discussing the ambiguous character of the welfare state. the visual angles adopted are almost oppositional. In those areas where the two approaches overlap (e. Putnam's work preserves many of the ideas of the sociology of integration. particularly its social aspect" (1998b. On the one hand there are full citizens who have very rare and overpaid capacities and activities .. . His concepts of social capital and trust are directed to questions about mechanisms that strengthen the integration of the values of society. The existence of an excluded and under-privileged group. and forms of domination (Herrschaft) and deprivation. Competence is in Bourdieu's view the heart of a "sociodicy" that provides justification for the dominant groups' privileges.. and also all the material and symbolic costs associated with inactivity or precarious employment" (op. Bourdieu's main theoretical interests are in the examination of social conflicts or struggles about the stakes in different fields. One of the euphemisms developed by social forces that would like to demolish the welfare state is the concept of competence (and the ideology of competence that has been constructed around the concept) which extends the ideas of social neo-Darwinism. In Bourdieu's words. with all the problems consequent upon this. social exchange.. Trust .
on . This is exactly what many students of trust/social capital do. Trust and voluntary associations create consensus and economic welfare in Putnam's approach on the condition that the specific interests of certain groups and conflicts between them are cancelled out.g. because "the best point to manage conflict is before it starts" (Schattschneider 1960. Many developers of the American theory of pluralism also took into account specific interests. It happens all too often that his ideas are rejected after receiving only a brief mention (cf. and selects his concepts from the corresponding points of view. From the Putnamian theoretical perspective. 179).to say that because Bourdieu is not talking about trust leading to consensus on the societal level. and saw "the flaw of the pluralist heaven" (Schattschneider). This underlines the narrow perspective of Putnam’s theories. social struggles are interpreted as expressions of amoral familism. on our position concerning the dispute between the sociology of integration and the sociology of conflict. The stability of a system which includes conflicts needs trust. However. on what problems we are interested in and. deals mainly with organized interests (voluntary associations). Universal values such as trust can only be understood as ideal types without real equivalents. 15). conflicts fall outside the process of consensus and integration. But in this case. it is justified to ignore his ideas in any theoretical discussion in which social capital is assumed to be based on trust. Misztal 1996) or to ignore them totally (e. Bourdieu's concepts of the forms of capital and symbolic violence. Newton 1999. Putnam 1993). Thus it is easy . whereas Putnam operates theoretically on the level of societal consensus. the choice between Putnam and Bourdieu depends. first. second. In the last analysis. Bourdieu for his part excludes from his theory even the idea of 'genuine' consensus and universal values whose central function is to maintain it in everyday practices. Seligman 1997. and some destinations you simply cannot get to from here" (Putnam 1993. including the inside working of voluntary associations.g.in fact too easy . we need critical theoretical tools to be able to analyze both the opportunity structures improving the creation of consensus and the obstacles to the development of the "ideal speech situation". and on the structures of power and violence that are produced and reproduced/destroyed by agents who have an interest in the game that is played in the field in question. Bourdieu's sociological focus is on the conflictual fields.These different points of departure create a kind of theoretical "path dependence": "where you can get to depends on where you are coming from. discussed the problem of non-organized or "potential" interests. Northern and Southern Italy) or between social groups. Govier 1997. or of differences connected with the uneven exchange between regions (e. it can be argued that it is possible to see Bourdieu's ideas about the centrality of conflicts as part and parcel of creating a theory of the preconditions (or impossibility) of social consensus or hegemony.
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